Cristiano Ronaldo-Lionel Messi Ballon d'Or absence criticised by winner Luka Modric

Real Madrid midfielder Luka Modric has hit out at players such as Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi for not attending award ceremonies when they are not going to win.

Modric, who led Real to their third consecutive Champions League and reached the World Cup final with Croatia in the summer, ended the decade-long Ronaldo-Messi stranglehold on the Ballon d'Or when he won it earlier this month.

But Modric (also the No.1 central midfielder in the ESPN FC 100) was not happy that neither Ronaldo nor Messi made the journey to Paris for the ceremony.

"I cannot speak why someone didn't turn up at an award ceremony, it's their choice," he told Sportske Novosti. "It doesn't make sense, does it? It seems these votes and awards are only significant when they win it.

"It's unfair to fellow players and voters who have nominated them in the past 10 years, as well as to football and the fans. However, people will act the way they think they ought to.

"In my opinion, things are very simple: Ronaldo and Messi are phenomena who have been dominant in the past 10 years or so. They've been in a league of their own. But we are talking about a season's accomplishments here and I guess it means something that votes by national team coaches, managers, football legends, journalists and fellow players have produced the same results."

He added, with tongue in cheek: "If the debate is going to be about how good a particular player is, the only course of action is to award all trophies to Messi and Ronaldo until they retire and scrap the voting."

Modric, fifth in Ballon d'Or polling last year, finished ahead of 2017 winner Ronaldo of Juventus and Atletico Madrid forward Antoine Griezmann for this year's prize, leaving Messi, who was fifth, outside the top three for the first time since 2006.

Paris Saint-Germain forward Kylian Mbappe finished fourth to round off the top five.

Ballon d'Or top 10 finishers:

1) Luka Modric (Croatia / Real Madrid)

2) Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal / Juventus)

3) Antoine Griezmann (France / Atletico Madrid)

4) Kylian Mbappe (France / PSG)

5) Lionel Messi (Argentina / Barcelona)

6) Mohamed Salah (Egypt / Liverpool)

7) Raphael Varane (France / Real Madrid)

8) Eden Hazard (Belgium / Chelsea)

9) Kevin De Bruyne (Belgium / Manchester City)

10) Harry Kane (England / Tottenham)

Information from Aleksandar Holiga was used in this report.